Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Scared Of The CIA

from the well-that's-revealing dept

Over the past few months, one thing we keep hearing over and over again from defenders of the intelligence community is that everything is under control and “legal” because Congress has powerful oversight. We’ve shown, repeatedly, how that’s something of a joke. The intelligence community has lied repeatedly, has withheld documents and is generally nonresponsive to oversight attempts by Congress. And, with the reports that the CIA spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee, we also find out that for all the bluster and talk of oversight, folks in Congress are actually scared by the intelligence community.

In response to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s speech last week calling out the CIA for spying on her staffers, Rep. Nancy Pelosi was asked to comment and gave what might be the most revealing comments to date as to why Congress is so scared of the CIA:

“I salute Sen. Feinstein,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference of the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I’ll tell you, you take on the intelligence community, you’re a person of courage, and she does not do that lightly. Not without evidence, and when I say evidence, documentation of what it is that she is putting forth.”

Pelosi added that she has always fought for checks and balances on CIA activity and its interactions with Congress: “You don’t fight it without a price because they come after you and they don’t always tell the truth.

A few months back, the ACLU had posted something questioning whether or not the intelligence community might be blackmailing Congress. And, quite frequently when we write about the intelligence community, we see suggestions in the comments that certain politicians probably cover for the NSA and CIA because they know what those agencies “have on them.” I’ve always dismissed those kinds of claims as being a bit far-fetched, even if they have plenty of historical precedent. So far, there’s certainly been no direct evidence of that happening.

And yet… Pelosi’s comments certainly seem to hint at even more nefarious activity by the intelligence community against politicians who dare to actually do the job of oversight. The point of that ACLU post linked above is that, even if it’s not happening, the fact that we can’t definitively rule it out is a serious problem for democracy. And just the fact that some of the most powerful members of Congress, who are theoretically in charge of oversight, are now publicly admitting that they’re scared of how the CIA fights back when they take them on, suggests that the intelligence community really is rotten to the core. And Congressional oversight, as it stands today, is clearly not able to deal with the issue by itself.

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Comments on “Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Scared Of The CIA”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Pelosi added that she has always fought for checks and balances on CIA activity and its interactions with Congress: ?You don?t fight it without a price because they come after you and they don?t always tell the truth.

1. So now, Nancy you understand why Snowden had to take the documents don’t you. He had to have the evidence, right?

2. You are just now figuring out that the intelligence community lies? Really, it took you that long to figure that one out after Clapper and the others?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No

In fact, it appears she’s saying that they’ll use what they know about you against you and make up the rest.

If you’ve done something wrong, it will surely be exposed. If it has only the appearance of wrongdoing, they’ll first exaggerate it and then exploit it. If you’ve done nothing wrong at all, they’ll invent something plausible yet hard enough to disprove that it will ruin your reputation anyway.

Strafe says:

Re: Re: Re: Too long? Nah...

I’ll admit that I enjoy a good conspiracy theory now and again, though I tend to not give any of them much weight. It is for this reason I normally would have laughed at the prospect of the U.S. Senate honestly being afraid of it’s own intelligence community. I laugh no longer, given everything that’s been coming to light ever since the Snowden leaks began.

Those 9000 withheld CIA documents? If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Right? It’s something they and their supporters love saying to the public. Yet when the shoe is on the other foot, look at what happens! What possible reason could the White House have for withholding all of those documents from a duly appointed senate oversight committee? No doubt there are answers to some of this past centuries greatest mysteries in those documents. The “truth” — no word in the English language is more scary to the kind of people involved in what can only be described as a cover up. The lights have been flicked on and all of the cockroaches began a mad scramble for safety.

So this all leads me to wonder; if there were ever to be a coup, which arm of the government would be the most likely to do so? I know what my answer would be. One then begins to also wonder if it’s already happened and when. Looking back through history, I’d put my money on the Kennedy assassinations. Especially when you look at the kind of men who’ve been President ever since that happened and the kinds of things they’ve done with their power.

There are actually quite a few indications, things that may have been difficult to explain before, until you begin to work under the assumption the intelligence community (or more likely a secret sect within it) had something to do with the path U.S. history has taken. Here is just one (of many) examples that come to mind; President Obama. So many promises made by a man I’d swear wasn’t lying during his campaign (I’m pretty good at being able to tell), yet once in office has mostly done the exact opposite, going so far as to outright betray his professed beliefs even. There are only three possibilities for this; he was a corrupt liar before taking office, corrupted after taking office, or came to be under duress after being sworn in.

Occam’s Razor dictates it’s most likely one of the first two possibilities, but that doesn’t automatically exclude the third. Controlling the outcome of an election would be very difficult to do without getting caught because there are just too many variables involved with doing so. You would never be able to control them all, no matter how powerful and/or wealthy you were — unless you could perhaps automate much of the process, thereby taking some of those variable out of the equation entirely (voting automation anyone?). If there really had been a coup without the public knowing about it, the third possibility becomes the more likely since you really only have the one variable. That is, of course, provided you have the necessary leverage required to force the President to play ball, something not at all difficult to discover for the intelligence community. Secrets are part of their job description after all.

And what happens if a newly sworn in President refuses? As we’ve already seen from history, assassination would be one tool. Unfortunately you wouldn’t be able to rely on that every time it happens for a number of obvious reasons, so better to attempt getting someone you desire into office (they certainly have plenty of tax payer money for backing their own candidate/agent) and failing to accomplish that, they also have the rather easy option of getting a President impeached using an inconvenient truth or a lie. Doesn’t matter which. Just look at what happened with Clinton if you need an example.

All of that is not so far fetched when you realized this kind of thing is also part of the job description, not to mention that if you’re willing to believe they’ve already done this in other countries (i.e. putting their own man in power as part of a secret black-op — Prime Minister Stephen Harper for example lol), why would it be so hard to believe they’ve never attempted it in their own home country? After all it’s pretty clear that the type of person working in any kind of intelligence capacity is highly likely to believe they’d be doing the right thing, as in entirely for the benefit of their country, and see themselves as a patriotic hero to boot. Look no farther than Senator Rogers for an example of this type of thinking (i.e. the belief it’s ok to lie/cheat/steal/kill because it’s all being done in service to ones country).

This all sounds more than a little crazy, I know. That is until to listen to the speech President John F. Kennedy made on April 27, 1961; one of the reasons, or so I truly believe, as to why he was assassinated. Some of the words he spoke that day can be construed as nothing less than a serious threat to those whom Kennedy was speaking of. No doubt these were not just people working in a federal capacity, but also people from without; the very rich whom have their own corporate interests for example, those running a criminal enterprise even, and of course the interests of other countries (the USSR during the Cold War for instance). You don’t just go about assassinating Presidents without some kind of firm, unshakable belief for doing so. A whim wouldn’t be enough IMHO, yet that is what they’ve always wanted us to believe in the Kennedy’s case.

Some may find all of the above hard to believe, but I find it harder to believe there isn’t at least one person out there who wouldn’t go to those kind of lengths to protect their own interests for the future they envision. It’s ultimately a numbers game, whereby given enough of X (the number of people in positions of power both within and outside of the government) and enough of Y (time) that at least one immoral act, such as an assassination of a President, would arise for Z (a damn good reason from their point of view). Kennedy wasn’t the first, certainly won’t be the last, and I pray we some day find out the truth… which may actually be contained within one of those 9000 documents being withheld by the White House lol.

PS: While on the topic of secret black-ops, who here has been wondering whether the US intelligence community had something to do with the utter disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370? It has been a very long time since something big, such as 9/11, has happened. Given the kind of things that have been coming to light lately and the resulting heat the NSA/CIA have been taking because of it, right now would be the perfect time to crash a large jet into something on American soil. Doing so would take all that heat off of them by providing a much needed distraction, while at the same time could be used to justify their existence and the things they’ve been caught red handed doing. Or, if we go by Occam’s Razor once again, the flight most likely crashed due to fire. Other than malfunctions, which seem unlikely given the Boeing 777’s performance record, the only other thing that would cause communications devices to switch off one after the other in sequence like that would be a fire as it slowly spreads.

AmericanPatriot (profile) says:

Re: Pelosi and the CIA..

First off, we must reinforce the fact that the people of this nation, are the legitimate masters of all government does, and if we refuse to act against any rogue agency, they see this as a means to abuse us. I believe it time to attack the CIA and shut down that operation, for good.
Their charter also PROHIBITS their operation on U.S soil, and if they are doing so, imprison all of them and let them rot there. Charge them with treason and shutter the building and liquidate the assets to repay the people for the thefts and crimes they have committed against us, andin direct violation of the constitution!

David says:

Re: Mischaracterization

It’s not “risk assessment”. It just has not entered her head to worry about getting bit by an attack dog she raised herself as a pup. That’s just a bit of “Down! Bad boy!” she is doing now.

It does not enter her head that she might look like dog food to anybody.

She’ll come wondrously back into line again. It’s not like there would be much of a detour noticeable in her course, anyway.

Ninja (profile) says:

I’ve always dismissed those kinds of claims as being a bit far-fetched, even if they have plenty of historical precedent. So far, there’s certainly been no direct evidence of that happening.

I would have done the same a few years ago. Yet now while I’m not cynical enough to believe there is blackmailing I’m quite convinced they do have info on politicians enough to “pressure” them if they see it fit. The question is: how long till they use that tool that is directly available for them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I would would not consider it cynical in the least to believe blackmailing is going on. And not just in the intelligence community. I would even say people have to be willfully ignorant to believe that there is not at least some blackmail going on regularly. A lot of it may be bribery, but you should consider this. Every time you hear about a political critter doing something stupid or bad (Think Christie and the bridge bullshit) then you should consider that at a 50/50 change that this is a person that was not successfully blackmailed. This is not meant to imply that Christie has good character. It is enough for me to not like him because it happened. He is the boss… they like taking the glory for successes so he needs to take the heat and step aside.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I just don’t think that’s a very smart thing for you to do.” is vague enough not to be categorized as blackmail.

That it’s something that will carry punch in the hand of any secret service over its overseers should make you think twice about what powers it makes sense to create in the first place.

This is a genie that is very hard to recork again.

Jake says:

Re: Re: So at what point...

That means there’s two possibilities. One is that President Obama is actively colluding to mislead, intimidate and threaten Congresspersons to deter them from investigating this issue. That strikes me as highly unlikely because it just flat-out wouldn’t work; is some senator goes public with a blackmail threat from the Commander in Chief then unless that senator has been molesting kids or something, I guarantee the newspapers will be way more interested in crucifying Obama.

The other, scarier possibility is that the Department of Homeland Security has stopped taking orders from the White House.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: So at what point...

According to McClatchy, the administration has withheld “for five years more than 9,000 top-secret documents sought by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for its investigation … even though President Barack Obama hasn?t exercised a claim of executive privilege.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: So at what point...

Well, allegedly, Bill Clinton tried to get information about our top secret military technology from the military and the military allegedly even refused to classify information to him. So if even the president can’t get access to everything …

It’s entirely possible the military has its own chain of command. In fact I would conjecture to say it’s a very good possibility.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 So at what point...

(now I don’t think the military decides who we go to war with or anything like that. But I would say they have a lot of influence over a lot of things with little oversight. and some of that is not necessarily a bad thing either, I understand that certain things should be kept secret from enemies and who better to do that and to make certain decisions than the military).

AricTheRed says:

Government officials I trust.

The only Congress critters that have to worry about this are the ones I don’t trust, because those are the ones that have not already been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

Think about it this way. I’m much more likley to vote for you if you’ve been caught breaking the law because that proves to me you are not sneaky enough to get a way with it! and screw me and the rtest of The People over with just the CIA blackmailing you…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Government officials I trust.

You have a horrible line of thinking on this. There is a term for this which I cannot remember but basically… some people do just enough of the little things to distract people from the really big shit. Its a common diversionary tactics employed in times of peace and war.

A lot of people let the small stuff slide, because it falsely assuages people just as you have admitted.

Think on it and realize why people hate goody goodies so damn much! We all know our own sins and to see one that is blameless just eats at our souls until we see at least one of their deep dark secrets!

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Government officials I trust.

I understand where you’re coming from, but I have what (I think) is a better way of looking at this issue. Given that there’s not a human being on this planet that is 100% trustworthy about all things, the question is really what do you mean when you say you “trust” somebody?

My answer is: I trust somebody when I believe I have a very good idea about the sorts of things they can be trusted about and the sorts of things they can’t be. If I know someone is a certain kind of crook, I trust them more than an unknown person simply because I know what they can’t be trusted about and can avoid those landmines.

edpo says:

Pelosi Action Plan?

?You don?t fight it without a price because they come after you and they don?t always tell the truth.”

These are the words of sitting United States Representative. Let that sink in.

Since some of us hired her to represent our interests in Congress, what in the hell is Rep. Pelosi going to do about the executive branch snubbing its nose at the legislative/judicial branches (indeed, snubbing their nose at all of us)?

Geoff Barto (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Read Three Felonies a Day by Harvey Silverglate. Because of the proliferation of idiotic laws, any D.A. who has it in for you can probably manage at least a grand jury indictment. Presumably, the CIA can find something in the soup that’s a bit bothersome too.

In other words, by letting the Congresscritters write a law for every idiotic thing under the sun, they’ve left us and themselves subject to the whims of executive branch actors.

That One Guy (profile) says:

There's a saying for this I believe...

‘You have democracy when the government is afraid of the people, and tyranny when the people are afraid of the government.’

Pretending, just for a moment, that the House and Senate actually were what they are supposed to be, the people’s representatives, that would make this statement by her essentially a flat out admission that the system has been corrupted to the point of tyranny, with a thin, fake shell of democracy in place to hide it.

DannyB (profile) says:

Far Fetched?

> And, quite frequently when we write about the intelligence community,
> we see suggestions in the comments that certain politicians probably
> cover for the NSA and CIA because they know what those agencies
> “have on them.” I’ve always dismissed those kinds of claims
> as being a bit far-fetched

Far fetched? Really?

We used to hear speculation about how badly the NSA was spying on us. Those were called far fetched also.

But in reality, they were far fetched in that what the NSA was actually doing was far worse than all of the far fetched speculations.

Knowing anything about human nature, greed, power, lust, do you really think it is far fetched that the intelligence community blackmail-worthy material on every government official they can get their hands on?

I think it would be far fetched to believe that they do not. Think about what kind of people these are. Think about the fact that they have access to vast amounts of private information. Think about the fact that they have basically no real oversight. No counter balancing force to reign them in. Think of the NSA’s Star Trek Next Generation bridge. That is a waste of money someone uses for bragging rights — effectively “look how much taxpayer money I can waste and get away with it!”. Wouldn’t that set the culture and example for the underlings? This is the CIA we’re talking about. The department of American Torture we’re talking about. A group that sets up puppet governments. That disappears people. Why would they have any hesitation to gather, and maybe even use blackmail material?

Anonymous Coward says:

Easy solution to this:

Congress and the senate could get together and with a stroke of the pen agree that they have grossly exceeded their mandate and suspend or dissolve the entire damn department. If they’re subverting democracy it is time to for them to be thrown out on their ears and tried to the fullest extent of the law. Hard to retaliate when they are all locked out of their offices while they’re being raided by the justice department.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Easy solution to this:

“Congress and the senate could get together and with a stroke of the pen agree that they have grossly exceeded their mandate and suspend or dissolve the entire damn department”

I’m not sure they can. The CIA is part of the executive branch, not the legislative. So is the DOJ, and Congress can’t just tell the DOJ to investigate or raid anyone at all.

What Congress can do is defund the CIA.

Anon says:

chump change

Blackmail? That’s nothing. These spooks have overthrown duly elected governments several times, tortured people to death, blown up groups of innocent people just to kill one of them, and assassinated various political leaders. And not just South American presidents. Remember what happened to JFK. These people would do similar to a Rep’s or Senator’s wife & kids and enjoy it.

David says:

Re: chump change

These people would do similar to a Rep’s or Senator’s wife & kids and enjoy it.

They would not enjoy it as such, but as a necessary part of doing their patriotic duty.

Torture, assassination, abolition of due process can be tolerable tools when they serve to prevent forces to prevail that would consider torture, assassination and abolition of due process tolerable.

Heil U.S.A.!

spoken01 says:


Why be afraid…shut them down.Of course we will have to hear about all the danger we will be in without them, All the good they are doing. Every country has a spy orginazation
and there is good reason, but it may be time to put a halt to their domestic activity. Question is how do you do that without completely decomissioning the entire network, NSA

FM Hilton (profile) says:

This explains a lot

So now we have the explanation of why the Congress always agrees to give the CIA and the NSA any money they want.

It’s called blackmail for lack of a better word.

“That’s a nice little job you have there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to you, wouldn’t it?”

Of course this doesn’t mean that Congress had any courage to begin with in tackling the problems of the CIA and the NSA.

It just gives them an excuse to cave every time when someone mentions ‘oversight’.

“I’m afraid of what I might see in the dark, therefore I will never turn on the light.”

Thanks for not doing your job. Makes me feel really confident in your ability to do it. Perhaps you’d feel better if you got voted out of office because it’s pretty obvious you can’t handle the responsibilities that go with it.

that other guy says:


It’s a lot tougher to retaliate against a politician if you don’t have anything on him, and if he knows he’s clean. The CIA would not only have to produce lies, but also evidence to support them. The fact that so many congress critters shy away from the CIA tells you they probably have skeletons they don’t want dug up.

David says:

Re: irony?

It’s a lot tougher to retaliate against a politician if you don’t have anything on him, and if he knows he’s clean.

Nobody’s clean. You need a few politicians who just know right from wrong well enough that they are willing to pay that price.

And voters who have the brains and the heart to appreciate it. Given all the chicken shit one reads about Snowden, not going to happen in the U.S.A.

David says:


The fact that so many congress critters shy away from the CIA tells you they probably have skeletons they don’t want dug up.

Well, let me quote Mark Twain:

I once sent a dozen of my friends a telegram saying ‘flee at once – all is discovered.’ They all left town immediately.

We would not need privacy at all if anybody’s outward perception was not actually layered into confidentiality layers like an onion. Arguably, with nothing else below the layers.

Thorough intelligence operation can mess anybody’s life up. Tabloids do this in more limited scale, and often (but in no manner always) with the targets having some benefit from popularity and being prepared for it.

But that’s peanuts against the kinds of things successful intelligence taps can deliver.

GEMont (profile) says:

“I’ve always dismissed those kinds of claims as being a bit far-fetched, even if they have plenty of historical precedent. So far, there’s certainly been no direct evidence of that happening.”

Stay tuned.

These guys think they’re immune, so they won’t be as clever about their abilities as their predecessors.

Only question is, how many congress-critters have to publicly admit they’re being blackmailed before you change your thinking.

And please remember:

– blackmail is the favorite pass-time of organized crime, simply because its victims almost never admit to being blackmailed.

The victims, after all, capitulate to the demands of the blackmailer in the hopes that their secrets will remain secret.

To admit to blackmail is to admit to wrong-doing.

That is something very, very, few congress-critters will do, even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

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